IDFA Selects Nominees for AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA 2015

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idfa2015logoFor the second consecutive year, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists is partnering with IDFA to present the AWFJ EDA Award for the Best Female-Directed Film at IDFA 2015, taking place in Amsterdam from November 18-29. IDFA programmers select ten feature length documentaries to be viewed in advance of the festival by members of the AWFJ EDA Award jury panel. The nominated filmmakers have been notified that they are in the competition, and the jurors — all of whom are members of the Alliace of Women Film Journalists — have received screeners of the films. Curious to know which films have been nominated? Here’s the list (in alphabetical order):

ALISA IN WARLAND – Directed by Liubov Durakova/Alisa Kovalenko
Poland, 2015, World Premiere, 90 minutes
Festival Program: First Appearance Competition
Official Website: www.alisa.org.pl
Festival Description: Alisa is 26 when the revolution starts in Kiev. She’s a student of film school, but above all, she’s Ukrainian. This film describes her journey from Euromaidan to the war in the East. It’s a sensitive diary of young woman lost in the shaky world. Living picture of her tragic experiences, feelings, pains. Alisa was taken captive by separatists, who thought she was sniper from Ukrainian army. She is not just a director anymore, she becomes a participant of the events. It’s also film about love between Alisa and her French boyfriend, will love survive the danger?

CAROLINA’S WORLD – Directed by Mariana Viñoles
Uruguay, 2015, World Premiere, 70 minutes
Festival Program: Feature Length Competition
Festival Description: Mariana met Carolina five years ago. This meeting was very special because it reminded her of a sister she had never met: Maria Pilar. Her sister was born Down syndrome and died at three months old. The day she met Carolina, for the first time in her life, she was really in front of a Down syndrome girl. It was the beginning of a long conversation between two women with different life’s experiences trying to know each other. As time went by, Carolina and Mariana became very close to each other and this film is the testimony of this encounter.

THE CHECHEN – Directed by Beata Bubenets
Russia, 2015, World Premiere, 76 minutes
Festival Description: The story takes place during Ukraine crisis, namely its major events – Maidan protests, Russia’s annexation of Crimea and the War in Donbass. Main character is Russlan, a Chechen, fought earlier in the First and Second Chechen Wars. He came to Ukraine to continue his struggle against Russian authorities.
Festival Program: First Appearance Competition
Official Website: www.alisa.org.pl

EVERY 28 DAYS – Directed by Ina Borrmann
Germany, 2015, International Premiere, 89 minutes
I put my wish for a child off until the last possible biological moment. The idea of having a baby frightened me. I was preoccupied with myself and didn‘t want a commitment. It also seemed important to me to resist society’s pressure to give birth. But then it happened, suddenly and unexpectedly. Wanting to have a child emerged from the darkest depths of my psyche. After all, two’s company but not a family. Every 28 Days is a radically personal documentary about the filmmaker´s attempts to become pregnant in her late thirties.
Festival Program: Panorama
Official Website: deckert-distribution.com/film-catalogue/authors-documentaries/every-28-days/

JONAS AND THE BACKYARD CIRCUS – Directed by Paula Gomes
Brazil, 2015, World Premiere, 80 minutes
Festival Description: Jonas is 13 years old and his life´s dream is to maintain the circus created in his backyard. While he faces this challenge, he will live the adventure of growing up.
Festival Program: First Appearance Competition

LYIARI NOTES – Directed by Maheen Zia/Miriam Chandy Menacherry
India/Pakistan, 2015, World Premiere, 80 minutes
Festival Description: Aksa is afraid of the dark and loud noises. She is 11 years old and dreams she will one day become President of Pakistan. She lives in Karachi’s most volatile district Lyari along with her 3 best friends Mehroz, Sheherbano and Javeria. The walls of their homes are pock marked with bullet holes and political graffiti. Once a week a van takes them past the high walls of Lyari and into the heart of the city to a school of music run by Pakistani rockstar Hamza Jafri. A story of music and resistance in Karachi’s most volatile district – Lyari.
Festival Program: Panorama
Official Website: www.lyarinotes.com

MOTLEY’S LAW – Directed by Nicole Nielsen Horanyi
Denmark, 2015, European Premiere, 85 minutes
Festival Description: This captivating documentary follows tough-as-nails lawyer (and former Mrs. Wisconsin) Kimberley Motley, the only American allowed to practice law in Afghanistan. Motley defends US and European citizens caught in the country’s legal and political quagmire, even as she finds herself under threat of assassination. While Motley brazenly chastises Afghani judges on behalf of her clients, she must also balance the needs of her family a world away.
Festival Program: Panorama
Official Website: www.madeincopenhagen.dk

REBELS – Directed by Kari Anne Moe
Norway, 2015, International Premiere, 91 minutes
Festival Description: A group of school dropouts are given a new chance to get back on track. Will they take it, or will they return to their old life? European statistics shows that in the EU, one in six aged 18-24 drop out before completing high school. In Scandinavia, the numbers are even worse, in Norway one in three drops out. Rebels is a film where the dropouts are heard. Through the main character’s voice, we get important insights into why so many leave school. We want the film to inspire a public debate on the topic, and even suggest some solutions.
Festival Program: Panorama, DOC U Competition
Official Website: www.pobler.no

SONITA – Directed by Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami
Iran/Germany/Switzerland, 2015, World Premiere, 90 minutes
Festival Description: 18-year-old Sonita is an undocumented Afghan illegal immigrant living in the suburbs of Tehran. She fights to live the way she wants: As a rapper in spite of all her obstacles she confronts in Iran and her conservative family. In harsh contrast to her goal is the plan of her family – strongly advanced by her mother – to make her a bride and sell her to a new family. The price right now is about $9,000.
Festival Program: Feature Length Competition. IDFA DOC U Competition
Official Website: chickeneggpics.org/film/sonita-is-a-traveling-swallow/
NOTE: Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami won the EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film @ Sheffield Doc/Fest 2012 for Going Up The Stairs.

A STRANGE LOVE AFFAIR WITH EGO – Directed by Ester Gould
The Netherlands, 2015, World Premiere, 90 minutes
Festival Description: In today’s increasingly self-absorbed society and culture, how do we balance the fragile scale of self-love?
A Love Affair with Ego is a feature-length documentary about the human love affair with our ego. Driven by her own fascination for her sister’s big ego, filmmaker Ester Gould sets out to unravel a both classic and current theme: self-admiration and ego.
This essayistic film intertwines the director’s off-screen narrative with observational scenes and interviews. It takes us on a journey past various stages in the development of the ego and challenges us to think about our own love relationship with ourselves.
Festival Program: Feature Length Competition

The winner of the AWFJ EDA Award for Best Female-Directed Film @ IDFA 2015 will be announced at the Festival’s awards ceremony on November 25, 2015.

The AWFJ EDA Award and the Oxfam Global Justice Award are the only two independently-presented awards on the IDFA Awards roster.

The jurors the AWFJ EDA Award @ IDFA are (in alphabetical order) Cynthia Fuchs (PopMatters.com, Washington, DC), Katherine McLaughlin (The Arts Desk, London), Jennifer Merin (chair, Women’s eNews, New York), Kim Voynar (Movie City News, Seattle) and Dorothy Woodend (The Tyree, Vancouver). All are members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists.

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